Forum Replies Created

Viewing 20 posts - 21 through 40 (of 1,616 total)
  • Author
  • in reply to: Dublin Fruit Market #745230

    It would be at least helpful to assess the buildings in the area and determine what might be retained and what could be replaced. Even that hasn’t been done. There are some nice little buildings and there are a number of others which, while unremarkable, could be converted to something quite nice with the application of a bit of taste. Again, the surrounds of Borough Markets in London is an example where much of the existing older building stock was retained and reused successfully.

    I’m not aware of any architectural assessment of the area.

    There are lots that can go.

    in reply to: Smithfield, Dublin #712594

    Sure this is happening everywhere now. With impunity. The Planning Department such that it remains, has totally given up on even a semblance of enforcing the planning code in the city. It is the ultimate non-department.

    This fantasy in plastic on Capel Street (an ACA)

    However, we must ask the question. What can be done differently. The problem is so pervasive and most businesses would now see it as an intrusion to require planning to ‘upgrade’ their premises, particularly in the current environment.

    No one can agree on good design, no one can agree on what colours works and what don’t, no one can control what premises are doing on a daily basis. In most instances painters etc will be in and out before anyone has even realised. No one can control the laminated plastic industry that has grown as fast as the traditional shopfront practitioners have declined.

    The planning system is a also problem. Its far too complicated and expensive to get permission for shopfront changes. It should be simpler…but with clear rules as to what you can and cannot do. The City Council’s guidelines need to be revised and made more accessible. In this age of the ubiquitous web this stuff should be all online.

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731606

    @rumpelstiltskin wrote:

    Why can’t somebody just paint this building … why?!!! White paint isn’t that expensive!

    You could say the same for 2/3rds of the rest of the city. The idea that “property has its responsibilities as well as its rights” is far from the psyche of many building owners in this city.

    Painting and window cleaning..the cheapest of measures…

    in reply to: Dublin Fruit Market #745222

    The ailing Dublin City Business Association and Dublin City Council combined on Tues 25 Feb to host a seminar on A Rejuvenated Dublin City Markets and a piece in the Irish Times follows today:


    The seminar was a rather staid affair, despite the interesting subject matter. Much of the audience must have felt like ‘announcement fodder’, given that questions or comments from the floor weren’t taken. Nevertheless there was the, at least, positive development that we have moved from discussing the Market Hall as a “hidden gem” in the north city to actually doing something about its chronic underuse of the past 20-30 years. At a ‘Food in the City’ seminar a couple of years back the city council was almost pleasantly surprised to hear that all these ready-made market halls dotted the city – what luck!

    The Council is currently undertaking a refurbishment of the Market Hall including repainting the roof and ironwork and replacing electrics etc. Its been ongoing for 2 years now.


    To listen to the City Council officials present, the Markets are being managed in an exemplary manner against the odds, and regular comment was made on the quality of the facade, restored in the late 1990s by DCC and winner of the Europa Nostra Award in 2000. Inevitably those stunning floodlit images abounded. But as we know, the reality is far from these images and as I have frequently commented here and elsewhere the Hall is a filthy, poorly maintained site, covered in graffiti, surrounded by what must be the most dismal public realm in the city.

    Nevertheless, the plans of the Council in this instance are very welcome, for the Hall at least. A mix of stall types within and various facilities such as cafes and toilets etc. The Chancery Lane facade is to be removed and replaced with a glass front to allow light and warmth into the Hall. A sheltered area to the front of this will allow for outdoor market stalls. Curiously, no mention was made of the former steel girders etc of the Fish Market which was demolished about 2007. The original Framework Plan vision for the Markets was to reuse its steelwork to add to the Fruit & Veg Market Hall. But sure who knows where this stuff is now. Rumours a few years back were that the entire Fish Market was bought lock, stock and red-brick barrell and transported to Switzerland, a place where they undoubtedly appreciate these things more.

    The site of the Fish Market is now a car park, a la the 1980s mode. These new plans are to retain the car park and the long serving city council official who announced the plans paid a rather worrying emphasis on the parking. But it must be recognised that some parking is needed. A much better addition in my view would be to construct a Luas stop on Chancery Lane to serve the Market. The mention of road safety audits and the like suggests that a whole rake of new signs and traffic engineering solutions are being devised for the huge ‘conflict’ that will inevitably arise here. Its only necessary to walk around the area to see how clutter much abounds; there’s hardly a tree or a quality stretch of pavement in sight.

    One of the big omissions from the day was the lack of recognition of the wider Markets Area audits poor quality and uninviting public realm. Its not attractive to walk here. Its not a destination. It doesn’t feel desirable or safe or interesting. But the wider area must wait.

    Also not discussed is how the new retail market will be managed. Who is going to do this? What’s the model? I would hardly be confident that the diminishing City Council could do this. But this matter wasnt even addressed, although DCBA did make a plea at the end for an SIV to be established to run the Market, perhaps with them controlling this (?).

    The most interesting element of the day undoubtedly came from the visiting delegation from Borough Markets in London. Telling their story of 20 years of progressive development of the markets in Southwark, the former trustee (the markets are not council owned but rather owned and controlled by a Board of Trustees for over 250 years) and the project architect showed just how visionary a project like this can be. What struck me most is the degree of refinement and quality that pervades Borough Markets and the innovative way that the Trustees leveraged additional uses to the area and expanded into the derelict surrounding area, all without demolishing it wholescale (as was proposed under the 2007 plans by DCC and its former partners for Dublin City Markets).

    Looking to the wider city, I am not at all confident that air of refinement and quality will establish in the City Markets. This will be a shame, as it is on so many other supposedly ‘quality’ streets in the city centre.

    A Part VIII planning application for the redevelopment will be lodged in March. Work to commence in November and the Markets to open in September 2015. David Brennan of DCBA at least suggested that a limited retail market be established in the meantime to build a profile for the new venture.

    A 2012 report by DBCA on the issue can be read here: http://www.dcba.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Towards-a-Rejuvenated-Vibrant-Thriving-Dublin-City-Market-Quarter.pdf

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731601

    @GrahamH wrote:

    And inevitably the adjoining Language School (the blue area of shopfront in this image) sticks up a big printed board of a sign across their frontage – just for that extra impact. Starbuck’s must wonder why they bothered.

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731600

    The appeal of Starbucks has been discussed endlessly for years. I personally dont get its success here given the amount of good coffee shops that have popped up lately. However it is expanding quite aggressively across the city.
    Its a smart looking outlet, exactly what this maligned corner needs. Funny that the last cafe operator didn’t make it. But hey, the old six month rule for cafes and restaurants.

    in reply to: Shopfront race to the bottom #776332

    @StephenC wrote:

    Dublin’s Little Shops of Horror

    Passing through Moore Street on Friday it appears there’s been something of a crackdown or cleanup of the signage mess shown about. Many shopfronts have been cleaned up.

    in reply to: Shopfront race to the bottom #776331
    in reply to: Shopfront race to the bottom #776330

    An interesting article from Kevin Duff of An Taisce in The Village Magazine on the dismal quality of everything from shopfronts to public realm in Dublin city centre.


    Such a difficult subject to get across. Its impossible not to get lost in planner jargon and to have commentators latch on to phrases such as ‘lower order’ as if the writer is making some wacky snob laden point.

    Perhaps no one in the city (or at least the vast majority) could care less about its quality. Or perhaps they care on a very abstract level but once its brought down to the nitty gritty of individual actions and decisions they then lose interest. Its a puzzle to me… the “obedient citizenry” of the city motto and their lack of aspiration for their city and lack of demand for better.

    Perhaps all the interested people have left for nicer places to live.

    The problems now are so pervasive and so entrenched. Its simply impossible to reverse the trends in my view. A few pockets of quality here and there but the whole is a dismal and uninviting mess as the article says.

    So many of the players, from DCC staff to DCBA (on a recent radio show) to retailers and interest groups parrot this mantra that the city centre is a ‘world class destination’ on a par with our European contemporaries. Its really really not.

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731594

    On a recent trip to Istanbul a friend of mine commented on the degree to which businesses there ‘stuffed their windows’ with all sorts of lovely things to entice customers in. We seem to have lost the art of enticing customers through quality shopfronts and window displays… and we (as customers) perhaps seem to have forgotten how we like to be enticed!

    The coffee shop on the corner had quite a nice fitout and an undoubted high level of passing trade but it still failed. I’ll hazard that, because this corner is so grimy and chaotic, it simply encourages people to rush by. Or it could have been because it had crap coffee!

    Something must change here though. The narrow crossing to O’Connell Bridge is ridiculous…the width of paving on the quay side, bonkers. Check out the awful mess of the adjoining Hickeys Pharmacy beside the former cafe. What a state – where is the pride of an independent business. Add to this the garish greens and pinks of the two other premises on Bachelors Walk. Its all so hideous….why would you want to linger.

    Its not that difficult to fix – more a matter of subtraction that expensive addition. Hopefully the restoration of No. 34 will spur further action on the terrace and a demand for a better street environment from DCC.

    The windows arrived yesterday Graham, and were installed last night when I passed.

    in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #775066

    Sorry to intrude on this hallow’d ground. However this link might interest lovers of the nation’s churches. Some images of the newly refurbished and reopened St Catherine’s Church on Meath Street in Dublin.


    (tipps hat…leaves)

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731592

    Of course the ‘public realm’ here, as with so many parts of the city is an unmitigated disaster.

    The tree is ugly and pointless, there is huge scope to widen the space and create a sunny terrace, and much of the ‘street furniture’ could easily be rationalised or better removed. A very simple project to realise a new space at the entrance to O’Connell Street. And perhaps then the various businesses along the stretch would have the chance to flourish.

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731591

    Its a very ambitious reconstruction of the original shopfront. The detailing is lovely and its very interesting to see the engineering behind the front, which is all currently exposed.

    I wonder at the wisdom of this however. Normally I would welcome this return to quality…such an antidote from the assorted plastic crap that goes for modern shopfronts.

    However, this feels a little strange. The proportions are odd when one stands in front of the finished product. The entrance is quite narrow and I wait to see whether fenestration and doors make its look pokey.

    Its very laudable for the owner to undertake this work. The sash windows about are stunning and the building has been transformed by the painting and cleaning.

    However, the proposed use is a Yogurt Bar, and I half wonder whether this glamorous shopfront will suit such a use.

    Hopefully it all works out. The fitout continues and I will post an image of the finish development.

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731590

    We talked previously about this much blighted terrace at Bachelor’s Walk.

    Despite the high quality fitout and huge passing trade the cafe at the corner didnt last the year. Its not clear whether this affects the proposal to refurbish the corner, previously discussed above.

    However, my attention is drawn to forth building along which is currently in the throes of a major (and surprising) refurbishment (Excuse the phone camera images).

    in reply to: Dublin Street Lighting #755769

    Dublin City Council’s ‘Odds n Ends’ Department (Lighting) strikes again. IMO THE worst department within the Council. Continuously wallows in mediocrity.

    in reply to: Parnell Square redevelopment #751241

    A victory for common sense…

    Dublin memorial to abuse victims refused permission – Plans would have had negative impact on Garden of Remembrance


    Plans to build a memorial to victims of institutional abuse in the Garden of Remembrance on Dublin’s Parnell Square have been refused by An Bord Pleanála.
    The application by the Office of Public Works to build the monument was approved by Dublin City Council last May despite several objections including one from an abuse survivors’ support group. It was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
    A number of parties, including Irish Survivors of Child Abuse and former industrial school resident and Independent city councillor Mannix Flynn objected on the grounds that it interfered with the existing memorial to those who died fighting for Irish freedom and that the association between the two memorials was inappropriate.
    Others, including the Irish Georgian Society, objected to the effect the proposal would have on the structure and character of the historic 18th century square.
    Despite the council having approved the application, An Bord Pleanála said the plans were in conflict with the council’s own rules for the protection of the special interest and character of conservation areas under Dublin City Development Plan “The proposal therefore would not be in accordance with proper planning and sustainable development,” An Bord Pleanála said.
    It also said that as the Garden of Remembrance is a “State memorial” used for State ceremonial occasions and was of national importance, it was inappropriate to put a “second unrelated memorial” on the site.
    “It is considered, notwithstanding the importance of the creation of a memorial to commemorate the victims of institutional abuse, that the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the setting, character and function of the Garden of Remembrance,” the board said.
    The €500,000 Journey of Light memorial, designed by Dublin-based Studio Negri with Hennessy & Associates, featured a covered passageway, lit at night and flanked by fossilised limestone walls and waterfalls. It was to be put up behind Oisín Kelly’s Children of Lir monument commemorating the 1916 Rising, in line with the Irish flag, with the State apology to abuse victims inscribed at child’s-eye level.
    The proposal also sought a gated opening in the railings along Parnell Square West to access the memorial and new service access gates to Parnell Square North on a 2,140sq m site.
    The Journey of Light was chosen in July last year as the memorial for abuse victims by a committee set up by the Department of Education following a year-long design competition.

    in reply to: ESB Headquarters Fitzwilliam Street #775524

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Will it be a touchstone for the growing interest in Dublin’s Georgian area?

    ESB to tear down Dublin block that ruined ‘Georgian Mile’
    New development will not see restoration of Georgian facade – by Olivia Kelly

    Almost 50 years since the demolition of 16 Georgian houses in what was described by conservationists as one of the worst acts of vandalism in the history of the State, the ESB plans to redevelop its headquarters on Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Street.
    The company intends to knock the offices designed by Sam Stephenson and Arthur Gibney and apply to Dublin City Council for permission for a scheme double the capacity of the existing building.
    However, it does not intend to comply with the council’s policy that it should restore the lost Georgian facades of the street.

    Mansion House protest
    Plans announced by the ESB in the early 1960s to break up what was Dublin’s longest Georgian facade, from Mount Street to Leeson Street, resulted in a resistance campaign which culminated in nearly 1,000 Dubliners attending a protest meeting at the Mansion House in 1962.
    Dublin Corporation heeded the protests and refused permission for the demolition. But on September 30th, 1964, the day before the new Planning Act which established a national planning system came into force, Neil Blaney, then minister for local government, signed an order overturning the corporation’s decision. Protests continued but destruction of the 16 houses went ahead.
    In the 1990s the ESB made an attempt at amends when it considered a plan, also by Stephenson, to re-establish the Georgian facade as a Millennium project. But this was deemed problematic and rejected.
    The company, four years ago, announced its intention to rebuild its headquarters. Since that announcement a new city development plan was passed which gave councillors the opportunity to ensure the ESB would have to include restoration of the 16 facades in any new development on the site.

    Restoration policy
    Fianna Fáil Cllr Jim O’Callaghan, who proposed inclusion of the restoration policy in the development plan, said the company’s new scheme fails to take the council’s policy into account.
    “This is the last opportunity to reinstate Fitzwilliam Street . . . Some effort should have been made by the ESB to reinstate the Georgian facade.”
    The ESB conceded that its new design by Grafton Architects and O‘Mahony Pike Architects does not involve full facade reinstatement but said it “re-interprets” but “respects” the surrounding architectural heritage.

    Background: Widespread opposition to ESB’s 1962 plan to demolish houses
    The announcement by the ESB in 1962 that it planned to demolish 16 houses on Lower Fitzwilliam Street provoked widespread opposition from conservationists, but it also got some support from architectural students who wanted to see modernism enshrined in Dublin’s Georgian core.
    Opponents included the new Irish Georgian Society, leading actor Micheál MacLiammóir and artist Seán Keating, who warned that “the next move will be to feed the books in the library of Trinity College to the boilers of the Pigeon House” – then an ESB power station.

    No doubt the current design ‘re-interpreted’ and ‘respected’ the originals as well

    in reply to: Bridges & Boardwalks #734535

    A great new website celebrating the architecture and engineering of Dublin’s 23 river crossings…from Dublin City Council Road & Traffic by all accounts. Mr Phillips is a man of discerning tastes.


    in reply to: Dublin Street Lighting #755765

    we’ve run out of lightbulbs maybe? a few of them aul galvanised steel yokes that were put up in Coolock Industrial Estate should work a treat.

    in reply to: Any news on the Ormond Hotel? #764378

    He’s with O’Leary in the grave…

Viewing 20 posts - 21 through 40 (of 1,616 total)

Latest News